Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Growing up, my mom always told the stories of our births as miracles.  She conceived Kip, my older brother, with her uterus turned inside out.  It was a miracle that he was born.  When I was born, it was a miracle that we both lived.  She was told she would never have anymore children after me, so when she conceived Kade, my younger brother, seven years later, well, it was a miracle!  So growing up we were told that we were miracles that God had given to her to raise and love.  Little did we know that we too, would get a miracle from God.  These memories were brought forth today in the form of a brown package.

My doorbell rang this morning and there was some confusion getting to the door only to find that no one was there.  As I walked away, I noticed the UPS truck driving off, so I went back to the door and found a package on my porch.  I knew this was from my mom and contained 2 small gifts for the kids, something my mom wanted to give Allie and my birthday gift.  I was a bit befuddled by the latter, as we don't do birthday gifts for adults anymore.

I opened the box and checked that everything was there.   Next, with Jack looking over my shoulder I opened my birthday present.  Inside were my mother's wedding ring and the dinner ring she had made out of my Grandmother Riley's first wedding ring.  (I say first because Clovis was married 4 times in all.)  I was stunned.  This was the last thing I expected to find in this little box.  I couldn't understand why.

I called my mom, she asked that I call the minute I got the box, now I realize why!  I began to cry. So many thoughts.  Why was she giving me these now?  What did this mean?  Was she foreseeing her death?  What was going on?  But the reason was quite simple.  Her hands have become so arthritic that she can no longer wear the rings.  So she wanted to be able to give them to me now and see me enjoy them.

But, there is something eery about wearing these rings.  My hands suddenly look more like my mom's than mine.  They bring memories of holding her hands and twirling her rings.  Taking them off and trying them on.  They bring memories of hospitals where I sat twisting these rings around my fingers waiting impatiently for her to emerge from surgery.

My mom and I are best friends.  We talked on the phone at LEAST once a week.  Then about 6 years ago, mom stopped making sense on the phone.  She sounded drunk.  She talked of falling.  She talked of bruises.  She talked of not knowing where she was.  I went to her and brought her home with me.  That began the hardest period of my life.  Over that 6 months, I slowly grieved the loss of my best friend.  There were no more long talks about her life, my kids, decorating, life.  She was a shell of a woman.  Then a miracle happened.  She woke up.  As if from a dream, or nightmare.   She went back to Texas, and slowly, gradually has become whole.

Yet, just recently have she and I begun to talk once a week again.  It has taken me almost 5 years to trust that my mom is really here.

And now she has entrusted me with her wedding ring and the diamonds my Pop gave my grandmother. I will take in all the memories, joyous and painful, and will wear these rings with great pride.

These rings will remind me of the miracle that is my mom.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fear of Writing/Water/Gays - somehow it all ties together

I have had several people say to me recently that they think I am a good writer.  Hm...I want to be a writer.  Well, I am a writer.  But I still don't know if I "feel" like a writer.  It seems a writer would always have something to write about.  It seems a writer wouldn't let the "inside the head editor" erase the entire blog entry they just wrote.  It seems a writer would want to always be writing.  I know, I know, this is not at all true.  It is work.  I have read many biographies and books about writing.  I know you have to make it a habit.  I haven't done that.  I need to do that.

I constantly have thoughts in my head that I think I should write about.  But sometimes when I sit down to write, I freeze.  The editor in my head says "are you sure you want people to read THAT?"  "do you really think people will care about that story?".  And so I delete, and go back to reading.

What do you have in your life that you "really want to do"?  What paths have you not chosen because you are scared, lazy, or just plain tired?  What is the voice in your head telling you?  How do you turn it off?

I was reminded this weekend about the idea of living life out of a place of peace instead of fear.  This is a constant cognizant choice I have to make.  For the first 30 to 35 years of my life I lived in fear.  Fear of what God would do to me.  Fear of the trouble I would get into with teachers/parents/friends.  Fear that I would fail.  Fear that I would get hurt.  Fear that people would laugh at me.  Fear that people would not like me.  So many fears.  But I consciously made a choice to raise my children differently.  Now, they hold that truth up to me to encourage me to live my own life out of peace, like they are.    They are my example of how to put fear out of the equation and plunge forward.

We all have our fears.  Whether it be an innocent fear of the water or homophobia, we all have fears.  What is important, is what will we do with the fear.  Will we allow our fear of water to let us come to the end of our lives having never felt the ocean wash over our feet?   Will we allow our homophobia to continue to make legislation and religious doctrine that take the rights of our neighbors?  Our friends? Our families?

We are at that moment in history where we need to stop.  We need to stop and ask ourselves what is behind our fear.  Do we really think that letting gays marry will in some way ruin our marriage?  Do we really think that these people CHOOSE this life?  Do we really, truly believe, that Jesus finds them an abomination?  Jesus, the man who ate with the vilest most hated people of society?  Jesus, the man who taught that the lowest shall be the highest?  Jesus, the man who taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves?  This Jesus would applaud us teaching and preaching hate against GLBT people?  Really? So, stop.  Really, stop.  Ask yourself why you are scared.  See if there is really any basis in it.  If you are using the Bible, stop.  Really look into that Bible you take so literally, there are many things in there that I bet you aren't doing...like owning slaves, having many wives and concubines, killing your child if they are born with something not quite right, etc.  So, stop.

As you ask yourself, "Why am I afraid of water?" or "Why am I homophobic?" I will be over here asking myself, "What am I afraid of if I write a novel?"

It is never too late to rid our lives of fear.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You are loved!

In the past few days I have been confronted with other people's pain; one a stranger, another a friend.  Both are women who have lost their way.  Both are suffering financially.  Both feel utterly alone in this world even though they have friends and children who love them dearly.  The pain is palpable.  It vibrates off both women with virtual SOS signs popping all around them.  The sadness and despair is so deep I felt drawn to the edge with them.  One I listened to while standing in a thrift store, and then talked to on the phone the next day.  The other was beyond my help.

Now I sit with this pain and know not what to do with it.  It presses on my heart and causes tears to spontaneously fall.   The unanswerable questions flow through my mind.  They do no good.  I can't "fix" either of them.  All I can do is be present and listen.  I can be open so that others, strangers in thrift stores, feel the safe harbor.  I can be at the other end of the phone.  I can remind my friends and loved ones that they are loved.

So please know, that if you are reading this, you must have a special place in my heart.  Know that there is someone in this world who cares.  Know that you are loved.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Becoming a Teacher Part Three

The notebooks stacked, the erasers piled in bins, the array of pens all signal one thing, the BEGINNING OF SCHOOL!   My fifth year finds me in yet another small country town, McGregor.  We had moved to Waco, TX, for my husband to pursue a Ph.D. at Baylor.  I couldn't find work in Waco, so had to start looking outside in the smaller ISDs.  Driving 30 minutes each way, was not my idea of a good school year, but the principal, Mrs. Holbrook, caught my attention.  I had yet to meet a principal who embraced Whole Language and my philosophy of teaching.  I was excited to see what could happen when the administration backed you!

This was another first for me, I was teaching a self-contained, gifted and talented third grade class.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  These kids were smart!  I mean, SMART!  No one was below grade level in any area.  But with this, came a new challenge, how do I challenge these kids and motivate them to do even better?  I enjoyed the challenge and fell in love with these students.  With the exception of a couple, most of these kids had no idea how smart they were, they were just kids.  With the exception of a couple, most of the parents recognized that their kids were not geniuses, just above the curve.  The exceptions almost killed me at times, but I learned a new skill, dealing with obnoxious parents.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Holbrook, had failed to mention that her staff was not too keen on her views on Whole Language.  She had filled all 10 of the empty positions with "outsiders" who held her same philosophy.  We were therefore, lumped in with her and disliked by most.  Not all, there were some "insiders" who liked us and adhered to the same philosophy.  By Christmas, the staff had won, and Mrs. Holbrook resigned.  I was stunned and a bit afraid for my future.  The next semester ended up having an all-time high, and all-time low.  Having succeeded in ousting the principal, the staff decided to focus in on getting the "outsiders" out as well.  They made our lives miserable.  The only time I was happy that second semester was when I was in my classroom with my kids.  The most unfortunate thing was that the students became aware of the bullying.  I tried my best to hide my hurt from them even as I was being yelled at in front of them.  But kids who are in your classroom know you.  They could read my feelings better than me!  Plus, they felt protective of me for another reason.  I was pregnant!  Jack and I had been trying for two and a half years, and that Valentine's Day I found out!  So, as I said that was the best and worst semester of my career.

As it turned out, all but one of the newly hired teachers resigned that year.  None of us had other positions, but we could not return to that nightmare.  It was unfortunate.  I learned a lot that year.  I also made a lasting friend in Mary Witte.  I taught her son, Cameron.  She was the second grade Gifted and Talented teacher and she taught me a lot about thinking and researching and stretching students' minds.  In fact, years later, she came to see me in DC and I got to spend some time remembering the good parts of that year.

One of the things I learned that year was how much a child's early years affect their growth.  These kids I had in McGregor had been loved, read to and cared for.  Their minds were open books ready to learn whatever I put in front of them.  What a difference from my previous experiences.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Becoming a Teacher, Part Two

The next two years of teaching brought about a change in scenery.  We moved to the country outside of a small farming town, Krum, TX.  My role here was not only elementary teacher, but pastor's wife as well.  This was our first "live-in" position.  I had no idea what was in store for me as I stepped into that classroom the first day.

Whereas in Ft. Worth, it was important to be a strong disciplinarian, in Krum, these kids felt like they had gotten a Marine Sergeant.  I was used to pre-empting fights by having strict straight lines when walking the halls.  I was used to "nipping" things in the bud!  It finally took a little chat with my principal to realize that these kids were not hiding weapons, or just waiting to "jump" each other.  In fact, most of these kids were related somehow or knew each other since birth.  I could relax and not be quite so"wound tight" I believe were his words.  So, I ventured forth into a new realm of teaching.

Without energy being expended on discipline, I found more time to focus on creativity.  Although I found this fun and rewarding, there was something missing.  I was bored.  So the next year when a challenge presented itself, I grabbed it!  I would be teaching a blind student who had an assistant who would be in my class part time and I would have to have all lessons and papers ready two weeks in advance to be Brailled.  Moreover, whenever this child had a seizure, everything she had learned would be erased and we would have to start over.  Lastly, she was spoiled.  She was the baby in her family by 15 years and the world pretty much revolved around her.

This second year also offered another challenge.  I would have a child in my classroom with whom I was friends with her mother.  I had never had this happen, and was worried about it.  But the child had cystic fibrosis and missed a lot of school.  Since I lived out there near her, I could tutor her after school.  It took me longer than Amber to acclimate.  She did slip a few times and called me "KaKi" but no one seemed to care since many of them had had teachers they knew or were related to!
Both of these challenges would not even come close to the challenge that came that second year for me. I adjusted to Nicolette, I became much more organized which would be beneficial in the future.  I enjoyed having the assistant and learned how to co-teach which would also prove to be a plus for my future.  Having Amber turned out to be a true joy!  She was my biggest cheerleader!  Her hugs meant a lot to me that year.

But the biggest challenge came on New Year's Day.  Shane Howard, a shy, sweet boy from my class, died.  He had fallen into an icy pond before Christmas, and before I could get to the hospital, he had died.  There is no class in college to prepare you for this.  How do you deal with your own grief?  How do you tell 18 nine year olds that their classmate has died?  How do you deal with the media?  How do you deal with nine-year olds' grief?  How do you do all of this alone because your district is too small to have counselors?  I don't know.  Basically you take one minute at a time.  One day at a time.  You make mistakes, and you apologize and you keep taking steps.  

Telling my class went much smoother than I would have ever imagined.   They took it in stride.  No tears, no anything!  But, what I didn't know is that grief for kids comes out physically.  So, I sent my kids out to recess and that is when the grief showed itself.  Other students started saying that they were glad that Shane had died because he teased them.  Suddenly these calm, kind kids turned violent!  They started chasing and hitting.  When I brought them back inside the tears and emotions began to pour out. It was overwhelming.  Into my lap they poured their sorrow and grief.  I gathered them all into my arms and hugged and wiped tears and before we knew it, it was lunch.  We got our lunches and came back into the classroom, they couldn't stand the thought of being apart.  We ate and talked.  After lunch, we read a book about dying and talked some more.  They decided that they couldn't stand the thought of moving his desk, so they memorialized it.  They also decided to take up money to buy books for their library in his memory.  It was an amazing thing to be part of.  Kids have such resilient hearts.  Kids have such love.  I learned a lot from those kids about grief, friendship and love.

I learned many lessons from those country kids.  I learned that all kids want to be loved, respected and listened to, no matter their circumstances.  I learned that all kids crave boundaries and the chance to show they are responsible.  I learned that all kids love to be read to by their teacher, even if they have a mom at home who reads to them.  I learned to relax and trust my kids and myself.  But the greatest gift came from Shane.  I learned to appreciate life.  I learned to live in the present.  I learned to hug my kids often and tell them I loved them and how proud of them I was, no matter how they might seem to not like it! 

Thank you, Krum.  Thank you kids for loving me and taking this strange, outsider in and loving me.  Thank you for all the lessons that have helped me become who I am today.

I came to realize from that two year period, that my true passion lay in teaching inner-city students.  I realized I must use my gifts where they were most needed.  I would only be truly happy when teaching in the inner-city.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

Let's see we have lived here in Krum two years, so it must be time for a move!  Stay tuned to part 3 to see where we go next.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Becoming a Teacher, Part One

I grew up thinking I would be a teacher.  I loved kids, I seemed to be good with them, and that is what my mom did.  Then as I got older, I wanted to do MORE.  I wanted to make more money and have more prestige. While in college, I didn't enjoy my first year of classes.  I was discouraged because I wasn't doing well in the classes that prepared me for these other careers.  Then, my second year, I was asked a simple question.  "What brings you joy?"  Immediately I said,  "working with children".  I went and changed my major and never looked back!

I did my student teaching in an upper-middle class neighborhood school.  It was unique because it was an open-concept school.  I guess that is when my interest in finding "other" ways to educate was sparked.

Then we moved to Ft Worth and I applied all over the city.  I don't think then I even knew what "inner-city" meant.  I was hired, and started at a school that was on the edge of an established neighborhood and the projects.  I walked into that first classroom and had no idea what I was doing.  Luckily Cheryl Wisch was right next door.  She shaped me more than any professor I ever had.  I learned more from her that first year than all the years after!  The very first day I had completed the whole day's lesson plan by 10:00 a.m.!  Yes, I had a lot to learn!

 I was a naive white girl from an upper-middle class home walking into a classroom where the 7 year olds were smarter than me, street-wise.  I was overwhelmed and distraught. But, somewhere within me, I found a way to connect to those kids.  They responded to me in a miraculous way.  I mean, we had NOTHING in common.  Absolutely nothing.  I couldn't imagine their lives any more than they could imagine mine.  How does that happen?  Over time, I gradually had to admit, it was a gift.  God gave me a gift to relate to those little ones no matter the differences.  I was given the gift to see inside those kids, past the walls around their hearts to their real selves.  They inspired me to work harder, try more, and to never give up on them.

My second year of teaching, I saw the neighborhood deserted and my classroom become a revolving door.  I started the year with 22 children and I ended the year with 22 children.  But only 4 children had been with me the entire year.  FOUR!  I watched as children held up their shirts and showed me the blood from being whipped by extension cords.   I cried as I called social services time and time again.  I watched as children were taken from their homes.  I waited for children who never showed up again because their families had skipped out in the night.  I endured being cussed out by parents because I had taken their child's dinner money, two quarters.  I sat with children left out in the cold on the last day before Thanksgiving, being forgotten by a mother who was working a double shift at the strip club.  I accepted the gift of cat's collar still warm from the body of the cat.  "Hear that beautiful sound, Ms. Mckenzie?"  I listened and cried as that huge smile beamed while the hand shook the bell attached to the collar.  Okay, and I chuckled cause they never did get my name right!!  :-)   I watched, I changed, I wept.

So, I opened my heart and was forever changed....and that was just the first two years.
to be continued

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Miracle

A miracle occurred last night.  And it couldn't have come at a better time.  I have been discouraged, tired of being sick, and needing something.  This miracle lifted my heart to new heights.

It starts with a secret.  I had a favorite student.  I know, I know, as a teacher you are NEVER supposed to have a pet.  And I never let it show, mainly because sometimes she could REALLY try my patience.  But in 1993, this little girl came into my classroom at 6 years old and promptly crawled up into my heart and never left.  This little girl was scared, feisty, and had a little light in her eyes that no one had ever seen or nurtured.  What she knew was fighting.  That was the only way she got things, I think.  She came from a rather large family and was a twin.  You know she had to be feisty to make herself heard.  What I saw in her though, was not a bad child, but a child who simply didn't know another way.  This had worked for her.  Fighting got her what she needed, so why try another way?  Yes, all of this at 6 years of age.  So I took her in my heart and got to keep her in first grade, second grade, and third grade.  I had the privilege to watch this young girl learn other ways to get what she wanted.  Now, she still fought, because in her neighborhood, I think she had to.  (I didn't quite understand that then, but I do now.)  And beneath that tough girl exterior was a loving little girl.  And smart!  Wow, once she stopped fighting me, she learned FAST!!!  To be honest that was the true miracle.  She was amazing.  When Jack got a job in Maryland, I was crushed.  Yes, I had a great reputation in Waco that I didn't want to leave.  I had worked hard for that.  But I didn't want to leave this little girl.  I felt like I was abandoning her like others in her life had done.  What message would that send this little girl that I adored?  This was before computers and cell phones.  This 9 year old was not going to write me letters and send them in the mail, so how would I keep letting her know that I was there?  How would I communicate encouragement to her if I was not near?  I was crushed.  To be honest, I think I went into a depression over this.  Of course, the big move, having 2 small children, living in a different culture (DC is a different culture, believe me), and the huge shift in our family life all contributed.  But I think the start was feeling like I abandoned this little girl.

So, I held her in my heart.  I kept up with her the only way I could, in my heart.  I thought about her as she started 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, etc.  I sent good thoughts to her.  I encouraged her to not give up.  To keep trying even though she might be discouraged.  I prayed her fighting would not get her into too much trouble.  I prayed nothing untoward would come to her.  Then I started helping other girls here in NC.  I felt by helping them, I was helping her wherever she was.  I kept up with one young girl who reminded me a bit of the TX girl.  She had the same fight and sparkle in her eyes.  But she moved away and I lost her too.

Leaving teaching was the hardest thing I have done.  But leaving Shamika was harder.  Now though, the universe has sent me a miracle.  I found her.  I found her on facebook.  She is alive.   Oh she looks good.  She remembers me.  She is graduating this weekend.  She looks happy.  I am so excited to catch up with her. I want to know how much she had to fight to get to where she is.  I want to know if she felt me in her heart.  I want to know that she has found love.  I am so excited.

So the secret is out.  In my heart are really 3 children, Stephen, Allie and Shamika.  She has been there all these years, and will stay there till the end.  Now I get to welcome her home.  I wish I could be there this weekend, Shamika, to watch you graduate.  I would hoot and holler louder than anyone.  I would gather you in my arms and hug you tight.  I would kiss your cheek and tell you how proud of you I am.  I would beam.  So girl, feel that.  Hear me as you cross the stage, feel my hug, feel my kiss, and hear my words.........


Monday, May 23, 2011

Sister's Wives

Yes, I am openly admitting that I watch this show on TLC.  I began watching out of curiosity.  My only image of polygamists was of the ultra conservatives.  The long hair, old-timey dresses, marrying 13 year old girls to much older men, etc. But this show seem to show something else.

Cody is the husband.  He is in his late 30's, early 40's?  His first wife, and only legally wedded wife is Merrie.  Merrie was brought up in a family of polygamists, and always knew she wanted to have that same type family.  In fact, several years later, Merrie introduced Janelle to Cody and she became his 2nd wife.  All the women are close in age, all around Cody's age.  The Christina came along to make wife no. 3.  They have several children among the three women.  Christina stays at home and Janelle, Cody, and Merrie all work outside the home.  They own a home that has 3 separate apartments.  So each wife has their own kitchen and living area.  When the show begins airing, Cody has fallen in love for the fourth time.  He eventually marries Robin.  All of these women were 21 years of age when they chose to marry Cody.  They were well aware of the other wives, there were no tricks.  Each wife chose this lifestyle.  But, it is against the law in Utah, where it is probably more prominent.  A couple of the wives have memories of their families being split up because their fathers were arrested.  You might be asking why on earth would they go on National TV?   Well, they thought people had changed.  And as people may have changed, the law has not.  So the State Prosecutor has instigated an investigation into their case.

The whole time I watch this show, I think about how I feel about this.  It is not the lifestyle for me.  I think it is wrong no matter your religious beliefs to marry a minor child and have sex with them.  But, what about 2, 3, or 4 consenting adults?  What about this family who is paying their way, paying taxes, raising normal, healthy children?  They are practicing their religion.  They don't want to try to change other people.  They simply want religious freedom to live "family" they way they define it.

So, should government interfere in their personal lives, as long as they are all consenting adults?  Is having one daddy, and 3 mommies detrimental to the children?  All these thoughts are swirling in my head today as I watched the finale.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, May 22, 2011


When my son got to the age of having "activities" outside of our home, we were in the position of making some decisions about how we wanted our family life to look.  Having met several of his 4-year old friends' moms who literally had a separate day planner for their 4 year old's activities, I was taken aback.  I noticed that although both parents had full-time jobs as did Jack and I, they also had a nanny who was in charge of getting said child to all these activities.  And that was not happening at the McKinney household.  I was teaching at the time and was experiencing the older children who were living this same lifestyle.  I remember one young lady who was very bright, but could not be quiet.  She was so obnoxiously social, it was causing problems in my class.  I ran a very independent style classroom, and this young lady couldn't organize her time on her own to complete any assignment.  When I sat down with her, the issue became glaringly obvious.  She was at French lessons every morning before school from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.  Then she came straight to school.  After school, she had about 30 minutes at the daycare next door before being shuttled over to gymnastics where she worked out from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 4 days a week.  Then it was home, dinner, and finish any homework that was not done in the 30 min. at daycare.  Weekends were spent playing soccer, going to gymnastic meets, and more practice.  This child was exhausted and the only free-time she had was in my classroom.  So, she used that time to "play".  Because all children need "play" time.  Out of all this, came our family's philosophy.  You may do one activity at a time.

So, Stephen's first choice was soccer.  This proved to not be a great sport for him.  He was very good at the actual sport, but the running into people and knocking them down, was too hard for him.  He would score a goal and go back and apologize to the other kid!  So the next year he chose baseball. Every season we would ask, "what do you want to try this season?" and his answer was always "BASEBALL!!"

Allie on the other hand, tried ballet, gymnastics, piano, and then singing in the Capital City Girls' Choir.  She thought about trying softball or soccer, but when it became clear that she could not choose the color of her jersey, and she might have to wear something other than pink....she opted out!  Yep, a girlie girl from the beginning.

This method of one activity has really worked for our family.  Especially since we rarely had conflicts with either child's schedules.  Stephen played year round with a 3 month break in Dec., Jan., and Feb.  Allie's schedule was pretty set every Monday during the school year she had choir and then one performance in December and one in May.  Very quickly, baseball began to take over our family life.  Many a birthday and anniversary were spent at a baseball field.  We got to travel to some pretty neat places to watch baseball.  We have made some good friends watching our sons play.  Granted, as Allie got older, the allure wore off for her.

Last year when Stephen left for college, we knew our lives would change.  But surprisingly, baseball was the common thread.  We went down many weekends in the fall and spring to watch scrimmages and games.  Our family traveled to Savannah, GA, to a tournament.  So, even though my house didn't smell like baseball anymore, baseball was still a huge part of our lives.

Stephen has made a decision that will change our lifestyle.   He has finally decided it is time to move on to something new and leave baseball behind.  I think he has sacrificed so much for this sport over the years, that he is ready to just live.  He wants to get on with his life.  He realized that baseball as a way of life, wasn't what he wanted. Having recently gone through Jack's major life change, we get it!  We are sad of course, it is the end of a childhood dream.  But we are excited to see where life leads him now.  He will be leaving  UNC-Pembroke, which he really hated, and will enter Appalachian this fall.   He is excited.

So this summer will be his finale.  He will play with his legion team, and many of his childhood friends, as a farewell to the sport that has shaped him and seen him through many years.

Our lifestyle will change dramatically.  No more running to Pembroke on the weekends for a game.  No more baseballs in my yard.  No more net in my driveway.  No more buying summer clothes with "sitting in the sun for hours and sweating" in mind.

So, I will savor this summer.  I will cherish every play, every dirty uniform, every bit of red clay all over my house, and every smelly hat!  I will sit back and enjoy sharing this family lifestyle for just a little bit more.

Then, come fall, I will still have Allie and her Monday rehearsals.....I will cherish every moment driving her to and fro.  For I will have learned that I will miss our family philosophy:  You may do one activity at a time.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Love Thursday

Okay, this is a day late...Blogger wouldn't let me on yesterday...So, I am going to write today!

This week I'm loving:

1.  Feeling better.  Seriously!  I can hold my head up, and actually get out of bed!!!  I lost a whole month!!!!  But I am starting my way up!

2.  My family!  I had a great Mother's Day.  They are the best!

3.  Baseball!  It is so fun to watch games online or on tv with my hubby!

4.  My daughter...she just cracks me up.  She is so disciplined!  One day this week she chose to do homework instead of hanging out with her friends...she is great!!!

5.  Bunnies in my yard!!  They are so cute!

That is what I am loving this week...what are you loving?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Monday

Today is Menu Monday, and because I was drugged out on Saturday, the day Jack and Allie go to the store, they took over.  Unfortunately, they don't shop the same way I do.  I must have a menu plan before I go to the store.  They just go and pick up stuff they know we will eat.  :-)  Hey, we all have different styles!  So I am going to make up a meal plan from what they bought.  I don't know that this is what we will ACTUALLY eat, but maybe close!

Monday - Trader Joe's Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Tuesday - Spaghetti (never had it last week)

Wednesday - Subway sandwiches

Thursday - Grilled Chicken and Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Friday - Taco Salad

What are you eating this week?

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Has God caught up with you yet?"

Today has been interesting.  This morning as I drank my coffee and ate my breakfast, I turned on the TV to watch Grey's Anatomy which I had DVRed.  It was about Arizona and Callie's wedding.  In this episode, Callie's mother is seen refusing to hold the baby and really seeming not too excited about the whole ordeal.  Finally, when Callie confronts her mother, her mother lets loose.  This mother tells her child that she cannot and  will not have anything to do with this baby who is born out of wedlock and will not acknowledge this as a wedding since it is not legal nor moral.   The hero of this story comes in the form of Dr. Bailey. She says something in comforting Callie later that really touched me.  "Where do you think God is?  He's in you!  He's in me!  He's right here between the 2 of us.  The world, it just hasn't caught up to God yet, your mother just hasn't caught up to God yet."

Then I flipped over to watch one of Oprah's shows from this week.  It was on the Freedom Riders.  I was touched and bowled over by the bravery and strength that those people had.  They were 18, 19, 21, 28 years old!! Just children, really!  And  here they were, signing their wills and testaments and getting on a bus where they were mostly assured that they would die, get arrested, or beaten.  That takes my breath away.  Oprah asks, "What do you believe in so much that you would die for?"

Many leaders are drawing a correlation between the Civil Rights Movement and the GLBT Rights Movement.  Black people were considered "less than".  The Bible was used to say that Black people were inferior to White people.  White people were scared of Black people.  Black people were killed, hated, beaten, and not honored by any laws.  Today, GLBT people are considered "less than".  The Bible is used to say that GLBT people are inferior to Straight people.  Straight people are scared of GLBT people.  GLBT people are killed, hated, beaten and not honored by laws.

Are your children going to look back and say, "Wow,  my parents stood up in a time when many thought they were wrong, to do what was right"?  Or are they going to hang their head in embarrassment?

I pray God catches up with all of us soon.

(GLBT stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) ( just in case you didn't know)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love Thursday

It is THURSDAY!!!!  And you know what that means?  You get a peek into what I am thankful for this week!

So, today, I am loving:

1.  The smell of freshly cracked pepper sizzling in a little olive oil right before I drop my egg white into the tiny pan!  Mmmmmmmmmm, good!!!

2.  Watching my dog, Sunshine, go around the house excited, then when I sit in my chair in the bedroom, she plops on the floor and within minutes she is SAWING LOGS!!!  Too cute!!!

3.  Seeing all the pictures of mothers on facebook!  (gotta go get mine up!)

4.  Fresh clean sheets, pulled tight with no wrinkles!!!

5.  The feeling after going for 3 days without a shower and the clean feeling you get!  Just makes you come alive!!!

Yes, as you can tell, I have not been outside my house since last Thursday!  These are little things....but they do make me smile!!!!

What are you loving this week?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Being an Adult Sucks!

A break.  Finally a break.  My gut seems to be a bit more settled today, so maybe the Crohn's is taking a bit of a rest.  My fever has broken.  My iron levels are up.  Still a bit weak, afterall, I do have Mono still..but today my spirits are much higher.

It is one of those days I love.  The sun is shining, the air is crisp and cool.  My favorite kind of day.  So, how could one's spirits be low?

On my mind today is a theme that seems to be swirling around me.  Being a grownup stinks.  My college-aged son is at the point in his life, with one year of being on his own under his belt, when he is realizing that being an adult isn't all it is cracked up to be!  Then many of my middle-aged friends are at that point in their lives where their kids are leaving home or they themselves are recognizing that they are at that midway point and starting to wonder...Is this all there is?  Is there where I want to be for the rest of my life?  Why am I still here? Why am I not much farther along in my career, not much more financially stable, or not that in love with my spouse/partner?  We have all at some point and maybe at many points, stopped and ask ourselves variations of these questions.  Being a grownup carries lots of responsibilities.  As my son recently said, "There is so much stuff to keep up with."  And he is right.  The sad thing is, he doesn't even know the half of it yet.  It is fun to watch him as he grows up, but it is also a bit sad...I wish I could save him from the downs...but that isn't how we grow.

So how do we remain sane, much less happy?  How do we face the responsibilities that feel like lead weights bringing us down?  Well, this much I know to be true....when you follow your heart and love...you will get through.  This is the message I am giving my son right now.  Follow your heart, your passion.  Yes, there will be hard times, but if you are doing what you love with whomever you love, there will be strength.  Yes, sometimes you will want to give up, throw it all away, but then you look into your heart and you remember...this is what brings you joy, this person is who brings me joy, this job is what makes life better.  And you can do it.

Often we find ourselves doing jobs that don't bring us satisfaction, joy, love.  Often we find ourselves with burdens that outweigh our joy, such as medical bills, insurance premiums.  But we must persevere, we must keep striving for that which brings joy and satisfaction.  Maybe you are sacrificing right now so that your partner can follow their dream, maybe you are in a job right now that is not your passion, but pays the bills so that you can get one step closer to your dream job.  Maybe, you are waiting around for a job....any job....just to pay the bills.  Where is the joy there?  How do you reconcile that with your heart? Only you know the answer to that question and all the others.  At the end of the day, you must make the choices that you can live with.  Maybe your need to have no worries about money, leads you to a job that isn't necessarily joyful, but it brings you joy to not have to worry about money.  Maybe having to pinch every penny to not have to take on a third job while you wait for your dream job to become lucrative is what will bring you joy in the end.  I don't know.  I only know that the times in my life when our family has chosen out of love and care for each other, we have gotten through.  Oh, there have been many times I wanted to choose the more lucrative route, but I am glad I followed my heart.  It has been tough, it is tough right now, but I am content.  I know for me and my family we are on the right path for us.  And isn't that what really matters?

Thank you for listening to my babble.  Reading my thoughts.  And putting up with my self-interest!
Have a great day!  Remember, Love Thursday is tomorrow!  What will you be loving?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love and Evil

I am sitting here today holding feelings that are familiar to me.  But feelings I don't want to carry around.  These feelings started in my childhood.  At a pretty early age I remember feeling like spanking me because I was bad was not right.  I felt like hurting me, wasn't what the adults in my life were supposed to do.  (before I get lots of hate mail here, my parents and I have talked about this...this is all they knew...we are good)  Even then using force to teach didn't feel like the right thing to do.

Then in my teens, I remember sitting in the choir loft at church.  An evangelist and several men in our church, were all in a room somewhere in the church praying over a female teen because she had declared she was a lesbian.  I remember feeling in my gut that this was coercion, and it could not be right.

Then I went to college.  One morning in convocation or chapel we had a professor speak.  This professor had been my first religion prof.  He was amazing.  He constantly asked questions, and really listened to your answers.  He questioned us until we answered with our thoughts, not the thoughts we had been taught in Sunday School.  He was the first person to "give me permission" to voice the doubts in my mind.  It was an exhilarating experience.  But on this morning he spoke about something that I knew very little about but would change my life forever.

He spoke about pacifism.  He told us about being in the war and the struggles he had with his conscience and what the Bible said about killing.  I had always hated guns because I had lost several friends as a kid to gun violence.  Before this morning they had simply scared me.  But that day, I found a place inside my soul open up, as if it had been waiting for a crack to let it shine.  Killing is wrong.  We as Christians should not condone war or the death penalty.  We should be about God's love, that is what Jesus taught.  Peace.

Then as an adult, I came face to face with Evil.  How as a Christian did I deal with this issue?  I was choosing peace over war, love over fear, etc.  But what about these evil people.  I taught in the inner cities and saw these abused, poor children who at the age of 7 already had walls up around their hearts so high and thick I couldn't get through.  Seven years old and they had already learned that no one cared.  I envisioned these young kids growing up and I saw into their futures...it would not be much different than those of their parents.  So, that means these evil people in the world were once small children who deserved a chance, but didn't get it.  That seemed so unfair.

So, I went to several people and discussed evil with them.  They were from different walks of life, and all people that I respected.  I got lots of different answers and yet there was a similar theme.  In truth, we are all born with evil and good in us.  We all have the capability to be evil or be good.  It is a matter of life circumstances, choices, and sometimes luck.

Today I am sitting here with conflicting feelings.  I just read a blog post about my husband's appearance on the Bill O'Reilly show.  It was filled with hate and venom.  So much so that shills went down my spine as I read.  I am also sitting here reading facebook statuses, watching tv news, seeing people question other's patriotism if they are not cheering over Osama Bin Laden's death.  All of these people are Christians.  They have all chosen to live their lives for good.  So how does one mesh all these thoughts and feelings together?

For me, it always begins with empathy.  I must, I believe, put my self in their shoes, feel their pain, and try to understand what brings them to this place of hate, or judgement.  When I do this, I can see why they might be in the place they are, without condoning their actions.  It is not easy.  It is much easier to yell back.  To get angry back at them.  But this is not what I feel called to do by Jesus.  I am called to love my neighbor as myself.  To treat others as I would want to be treated.

So today I must choose to listen, possibly ask questions, and to love, even those who are questioning my faith and my patriotism.  I must stand up for those whose rights have been taken away.  I must choose grace and mercy.  For this is how I want to be treated in return.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Return of Menu Mondays

I am working hard to get back into the habit of writing on my blog.  The practice of writing everyday will help me with writing my novel, I hope.  I taught my kids that they needed to write some everyday and eventually the words they really wanted to write would come....so I guess it is time to practice what I taught.  I am going to pick up some of my regular posts, like "Love Thursdays" and "Menu Mondays!"

Of course this week, I will not be doing much of the cooking at all.  Jack and Allie will do the majority.  And I have to add here, that Jack grilled steaks and baked potatoes Saturday night that were out of this world!  I am one lucky woman!

Okay, onto the menu for the week:

Monday - Quesadillas with Guacamole

Tuesday - Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potatoes Fries

Wednesday - Taco Salad

Thursday - Spaghetti

Friday - Breakfast!  (Bleeker's favorite!!)

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

From the Inside Looking Out

When I was quite young,  I remember it snowing in Texas.  This was a big deal, quite possibly my first snow.  But of course I was sick and not allowed to go outside.  I remember my older brother, Kip, making a snowball and handing it to me through the window.  I also remember pressing my feverish forehead against the cold pane of glass wistfully watching him play.  I have found myself in this same place quite often through my life.  When I was a teen, I was friends with people who were older than me.  I remember one time we were circled around the fireplace at the Bryson's and they were all talking about their futures.  Where they were going to college, what they were going to major in, when they wanted to get married, etc.  They turned to me and all I could say was, "I just hope I have a date to the prom."  I was still on the inside of youth, high school.  They were out in the "world".

I am reminded of these feelings today as I lay here in bed and look outside my window.  The sun is shining, the trees are green.  I hear mowers, blowers, and birds singing.  I see the statuses of my friends on facebook and they are outside doing fun things today.  My husband is out watching our son play baseball.  I wish I was outside today.  But alas, I am not.  These are the days that try me.  The days that that make it more difficult to choose to have a smile instead of frowning.  The days that make me want to vent, whine, cry.  Hard days.  But I can't stay here.  This place is toxic and very hard to climb out of the longer you stay.  So I climb out...

Even though my body is failing me right now, it is not terminal.  I will once again feel good.  Yes, it may not be as good as most people feel, but I don't know any better anyway!!  Even though I can feel my energy draining with each word I type, I can type.  I can think, I have access to a computer to be "connected".  I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, my room is a comfortable temperature, I have friends who love me, and family that adore me.  What more could I really ask for?

Life on the inside can sometimes be hard and lonely, but so can life on the outside.  So which do you choose today, to see the negative or positive?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Abolitionists and Hell

This past week has been very interesting in our home.  For my non-facebook readers, my husband appeared on the Bill O'Reilly show on Monday and debated the existence of Hell with Bill himself.  The aftermath of that show has brought interesting moments of sadness, anger, joy and surprise.  Almost immediately after the show aired, Jack's email began to fill with notes of outrage, urges to become saved, warnings of "heretical behavior", accusations of being  "the face of evil", and  my favorite - revelations of "I can tell you are a gay man looking for a loophole".  Uh-oh, that was news to  me!  

I am currently reading Jane Smiley's The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton.  Lidie has moved to the west with other settlers to develop Kansas territory.  She and her husband are arguing about how to conduct themselves and whether they should acknowledge that they are abolitionists or just try to "get along with everyone else".  Lidie is scared that she and her husband will be killed and is urging him to just get along.  This is part of her speech,

"Husband, you are in the West now, not in Boston.  Don't you realize the westerners hate abolitionists? Abolitionists are people who...who...who keep turning over rocks and making everyone else look at what's under there or, worse, smell it and touch it.  Abolitionists won't let anyone alone.  Westerners hate that."

This is what my husband does, he keeps turning over rocks and urging us to look under them, touch it, smell it, so that then, we may not turn a blind eye.  He will not let society alone.  He will continue turning over rocks and championing those whose voices aren't heard until all rocks have been overturned.  He is my hero.  Thank you Jack, for continuing to turn over rocks with me and teaching me as we go.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Love Thursday, revived

I came to blogging because of my knitting.  I used to read 20 different blogs everyday on knitting.  Now I really just read 3.  One of those is Shiree's "She Knits Shizknits".  I find her funny and I love hearing about the antics of her 2 beautiful boys.  It has been interesting following her, because her interests in knitting began to dwindle about the time mine did.  Not that we don't both still knit...well, I guess she does...but our blogs took a different turn.  She went off into Yoga...ahem...not me!!!  And now she is into DIY.  As you all know, I love this topic!!  So it has been fun to follow her.

She inspired me at the beginning to start my own "Love Thursdays".  I really enjoyed doing that.  It helped me to stop and smell the roses if you will.  I became more observant in my week.  So, she recently reinstated "Love Thursday" and I am going to follow her lead!

This week I am loving:

1.  My boy coming home for Easter!  His hugs are the best.  His carefree spirit is so inspiring.  His bravery is admirable.

2.  Friends who are there for me when I just need some company.

3.  Finding new authors and new books although this is not the way I wish to do it.

4.  Discovering the gift of a friend...her first novel...then her bringing me a stack of books and not one have I read before.

5.  Having my writing rekindled by this friend's story.

6.  My husband.  He is there when I need to whine.  He is there when I need a hug.  He is there to talk seriously about topics when I am bored out of my mind from laying around.  He is there with his quick wit to make me laugh when all I can do is cry.  I just adore him.

7.  Watching my daughter's free laughter and seeing her laugh at herself with her friends.  Her smile could light up a city!

8.  I know this is a bit odd.  But I am loving my doctors and nurses this week.  I am blessed to have 2 doctors who really care and show true concern about me and my health.  I wish it wasn't like this, but since it is, I am so thankful to have found Dr. Carlson and Dr. Barish!

This is what I am loving this week, how about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Allie's 16th Birthday

Today's post is actually stolen from a previous post in November on things I am thankful for.  I felt in honor of her 16th birthday, it was a memory worth reliving. I've added a couple of photos.  I hope you enjoy.

Today, I am thankful for Allie, my dear daughter.  Jack really wanted to know the sex of our first baby, but I said NO!  So to compromise, we found out early the sex of our second child.  We were going to have a girl.  I was so very excited and scared.  Jack had named Stephen after someone special in his life, so I got to name the second child after someone special in my life.  For that reason, I was very excited to have a girl, because I wanted to name her after my grandmother Eads.  But, I realized even before I held her in my arms, that I would have such a huge responsibility to this little girl.  I would need to be a woman she could look up to.  I would need to exhibit the qualities I wanted her to have.  The problem was, I didn't possess all those qualities.  The transformation began while she was still inside me.  I started making small changes in my life that were huge.  My confidence grew in many areas.

The moment they placed her in my arms, I found out that your heart really can grow in an instant.  My fears of not being able to love another child went out the window.  My heart grew and took her in.  It was a peaceful time too.  Her delivery was easy and smooth, and she did not have to be whisked away like Stephen.  So we had her first few minutes alone together.  She also became hungry almost immediately!  She has been hungry for life ever since.

This little girl was almost everything I was not.  She was girly from the moment she could move on her own.  Dolls, dress-up, PINK, and kitchens were her obsessions.  She did not really enjoy being outside and sweating or getting dirty.  She was strong.  She knew her mind and was not shy about letting everyone know it.  She was smart and witty.  Yes, all of this showed up by the age of 3!  I was in awe.  I adored this little ball of pink.

My daughter is the bravest person I know.  She was born with a facial assymetry, and a discoloration on the left side of her body.  When she was little, we encountered many stupid, mean people.  As she has grown, the differences are much less noticeable, yet she still encounters stupid people occasionally.  Where many teen girls would wear their hair over their face, slouch, and not hold their head high, my daughter stands tall, holds her head high and walks with a confidence I can only dream of.  I am amazed by her.  She inspires me daily to be my best me.  She inspires me to be brave in the face of stupidity.

Yes, we have our teen-mom moments.  Yes, sometimes she makes me so mad I want to scream, and vice-versa I am sure.  But this girl, I would not trade her for all the gold in China.  She was a miracle baby.  I should not have gotten pregnant, but God had different plans.  God knew that this little girl and I needed each other.  God knew I needed her to teach me.

Allie, I love you more than the sky is blue, more than the mountain is tall, more than the sun is bright.  Thank you for teaching me all that you have so far.  I look forward to watching you grow and seeing where life takes you.  Just know that I am here.  that I love you.  that you are special.  mom


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Silly Love Story

Once upon a time, there was a young girl, a silly young girl.  A girl who laughed in an unusual way and at inopportune times.  A sweet girl, a girl who loved her friends and her college.  A girl who had a plan.  A life plan by which she would live her life.  This silly young girl loved plans.  She loved writing out her plan for each day knowing that those days led up to the big plan, the overarching plan.   She met a boy her freshman year.  A silly boy who broke appointments with her.  A boy who stayed up late and slept in.  A boy who had big ideas for the leadership of his school.  The girl didn't think much about him, but there was always something.  Something she couldn't quite see.  The girl continued down her path all planned out.  She spent the summer working and writing all her college friends wherever they were that summer.  All except the silly boy who never gave her his address.  When school started back the silly boy went to the silly girl and asked why she hadn't written.  The silly girl made a smart remark and they laughed.  But there was something.  Something she couldn't quite see.  The silly boy became president of his class and the silly girl was the secretary.  They had meetings and often the boy would walk the girl and her friend home.  The silly girl began work at the library.  She noticed the silly boy hanging out.  Often the silly boy seemed to be leaving the library at the same time she was, so they would walk together.  They talked, they laughed, and there was something.  Something she couldn't quite see.  Secretly the silly girl got off her plan.  She began to see another boy, not a silly boy, not a nice boy.  She realized this but felt trapped.  She was scared and began to share with the silly boy.  He listened so intently, but never gave advice.  One night after a meeting, the silly girl was in the elevator with her friend.  The friend said, "you know the silly boy likes you."  The silly girl laughed and laughed.  But there was something.  Something she couldn't quite see.  Soon after that, the silly boy offered the silly girl an escape.  Go out with him, the silly boy.  So, she did.

The silly girl began to like the silly boy.  There was just something.  Something she couldn't quite see.  The silly boy and silly girl started spending all their free time together.  They talked and talked about everything.  They laughed and laughed.  The silly girl pretended to like staying up late at night.  She pretended to really like watching sports on TV.  The silly boy suspected, but didn't care, because she was sitting by him and that was all that mattered.  The silly girl got sick and had to leave school without saying goodbye to the silly boy.  So the silly boy went to her house.  It was then that the silly girl KNEW there was something.  But she still couldn't quite see.  They continued dating after returning to school until one day, the silly girl SAW.  She saw the something.  She saw it LOUD AND CLEAR.  The silly girl never wanted to be apart from the silly boy ever.  The something was LOVE.  This scared the silly girl, because this was not her life plan.  The silly boy was not who she planned on marrying.  He was a MINISTERIAL STUDENT.  The silly girl was NOT going to marry a MINISTERIAL STUDENT.  Plus she wasn't supposed to get married till she was out of college for a year or two.  She wasn't supposed to meet the boy until her junior year!  The silly boy was wrecking the silly girl's life plan.  So, the silly girl broke up with the silly boy.

Unlike the previous boy, the not nice boy, the silly boy was a boy of integrity.  He had given his word that he would go to watch the silly girl's younger brother play basketball, and he was going.  On the drive to the silly girl's house, it was silent.  There was little talk, little laughter.  Not silly at all.  After dinner, the silly girl's grandmother said to the silly girl, "He is the one."  The silly girl gasped and said, "I hope not, because I just broke up with him."  "Well, you better fix that," replied the silly girl's grandmother.  So, on the way home that night, the silly girl pleaded with the silly boy to take her back.  She didn't want to be without him.  The silly boy smiled, and said yes, because the silly boy knew all along that the silly girl was scared, but he didn't care because she was right beside him and that was all that mattered.

The silly girl and the silly boy got married and became the silly woman and the silly man.  Together they had a silly baby boy and a silly baby girl.   They still talk and talk and laugh and laugh.  The silly woman still pretends sometimes to love watching sports on TV, and the silly man knows.  But it is okay because she is sitting right beside him and that is all that matters.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


You invited me in, and poured me some tea.
I sat, listened and held your hand.
You poured out your soul,
I poured out mine.
And now there is nothing.
A big blank hole.

I don't usually venture out to others' homes.
I keep to myself and those trusted few.
But out I came and bared my soul.
Out I came and took on your pain.
And now there is nothing.
A big blank hole.

I am left standing with your pain in my heart.
I am left holding a forgotten promise.
A piece of my soul is out there.
I am too trusting, but ne'er again.
And now there is nothing.
A big blank hole.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Breathing in 2011

Maybe this year I will just post on the first day of the month!  Ha!!  It is funny, I can go through periods where a blog post come into my head every day, and then times when I forget I have a blog.  :-)  I want to develop my writing, and to do so, I need to write everyday.  EVERY. DAY. hmmmmmm.........

I just reread my post for the beginning of 2011.  It seems that I was very prescient.  "Let go."  Wow, who knew those 2 little words could have such an impact on my life.  I wrote that I would like to "Let go" more in 2011.  Well, almost immediately, I have been provided with many opportunities to practice.  And well, let's just say my grade right now is in the "D" range.

I have written about these same areas so many times.  I have struggled with them so many times.  And I get so angry at myself now because once again I am giving my power away.  Once again I am allowing fear to rule my thoughts and emotions.  Once again.....so I am not going to write about them here.  I am not going to let these issues reign in my life.

I am going to breathe in...................and feel my body filling with oxygen and air
then as I slowly exhale.....................I will let those fears go
breathe in............................feel my body expanding
exhale.........................let the betrayals go
breathe in.....................and listen to the silence as I hold
then exhale....................let those people go
breathe in.....................and feel my heart beating
exhale........................let go of the bitterness
breathe in...........................feel the warmth spreading
exhale........................let go of the negative
breathe in.................feel the positive energy
exhale.......................let the pain go
breathe in...................feel the healing begin.

How about you?  Do you have something you just can't let go?  Does it creep into your life continually?  How do you handle it?

For now, I'll just keep breathing........

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year

Almost every blogger is writing a post today about the upcoming new year and what their hopes and dreams are.  I guess I am no different.  January 1st is always a good time to stop and think about the future and the path you are on.  And to see if changes need to be made.

I am currently entering the 2nd half of my life.  I am asking lots of questions.  What makes me happy?  What brings me joy?  How can I live each day to its fullest?  How can I be even more present in the "present"?  I have some answers, I have found a job that I can do that makes me feel good about my part in our family.  I have found that spending time with my husband doing just normal things, makes me happy and brings me joy.  Raking the leaves together, browsing through a scrap store together these are what make me happy.  What brings me ultimate joy is the love of my family.  I have 2 children who have really grown up this year and have been able to articulate their love and appreciation.  I have a husband who gets me, and yet still loves me.  wow!

But there are still lots to learn, lots of ways to grow.  And I welcome that, even though I know that means pain along the way.  It seems like growth always includes some degree of pain.  But in the second half of my life I now know that the pain won't last forever, and one day, there will be rebirth.  So now, I can hold onto that.

As I enter 2011, I want to learn to be more real, to love more, to let go, to savor the moments.  What are your wishes and hopes this year?

Happy New Years!